Tuesday, December 30, 2014

SCDdaily’s 9 Top Ranked 2014 Association Blogs

As a year-end post, I reviewed SCDdaily’s 141 blogs posted in 2014.

Here are the top nine – based on readership;

#1 6 Ways to Engage Xers and Millenials on Your Board 2/11/14

#2 5 Ideas About Information Overload for Association Members/Donors 2/18/14

#3 How Will Association Boards Recruit New Leaders? 2/9/14

#4 Association Boa
s That Fail 5/6/14

#5 The Long Tail of Association Content and Social Media 4/19/14

#6 Unwritten Rules of Association Board and Staff Determine Its Culture 2/27/14

#7 Associations & Nonprofits: Big Boards. Big Bureaucracy. Big Problems? 4/8/14

#8 Survey Says: Top 10 Reasons Why Boards Fail 7/22/14

#9 Gen Y Challenging Traditional Way 9/4/14

Interesting review. Is it coincidental that the most popular posts came in the first five months!

Thanks for reading!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

PS.  Can't resist:  Go Buckeyes!  Beat Bama!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Food for Thought for Associations and Nonprofits

I spotted this quote in the local paper this weekend:

“Money is like manure. If you pile it up, it stinks. If you spread it out, it makes things grow.” – Peter Kleist (I also see this quote attributed to J. Paul Getty.)

It made me think of a quote from a board member 30 years ago:

“Nothing ruins a good organization like too much money. – Wilf Illingworth

In my nearly 40 years experience in associations and nonprofits, I’ve found both to be true.

What about you?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Apple, Amazon, QVC & Associations

Ok, I finally broke down and switched from my trusty Blackberry to a new iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 buzzed through its battery so I went to an Apple store for the first time.

Wow! What an awesome experience. An impressive culture. And a friendly, helpful tech rep who shared some easy steps to reduce battery usage. (Wish the AT&T store would have shared them when I bought the phone!)

Even in the middle of the Christmas rush, the Apple store was an experience most associations dream about (or should!).

The experience reminded me of some other organizations which offer associations and nonprofits models for customer service and organizational culture.

Let’s take a look:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Thanks for reading this year!

We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What Should Associations Do About Old Emails?

I recently replaced my Blackberry. When I activated the new phone, it uploaded more than 14,000 old emails.


And, I had a double 'whoa' when the Sony hacking story burst on the news ... including distributing private Sony emails.

So, the Wall Street Journal article headlined Are You Sure You Want to Use Email?  grabbed my attention and should be something associations and nonprofits consider.

Some highlights of the story:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hiring Dilemmas Facing Association HR Directors

A few weeks ago, the local school board here was forced to fire an assistant football coach who had a record of multiple arrests. Members in the local community wondered why the school district had hired this person and why they had not screened his application to discover the arrests.

Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal story headlined Hiring Managers Bedeviled By Flood of Arrest Records shed some light on the situation and serves as a “warning” for association and nonprofit hiring managers.

Here are some excerpts of the story:
  • Eddie Sorrells is evaluating job applicants he knows he can’t hire. The chief operating officer of DSI Security Services, a provider of security guards, is checking out potential employees with felony or certain misdemeanor convictions even though they wouldn’t get licensed in many of the 23 states where the firm operates. Driving the company in that direction are government officials in Washington and elsewhere who want to give people with rap sheets a better shot at a job. Mr. Sorrells figures the reviews take up hundreds of hours of staff time a year.
  • Three decades of tougher laws and policing have left nearly one in three adult Americans with a criminal record, according to data kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That arrest wave is washing up on the desks of America’s employers.
  • Companies seeking new employees are forced to navigate a patchwork of state and federal laws that either encourage or deter hiring people with criminal pasts and doing the checks that reveal them. Employers are having to make judgments about who is rehabilitated and who isn’t. And whichever decision they make, they face increasing possibilities for ending up in court. 
  • Ignoring the records can leave a company vulnerable to making bad hiring decisions and to lawsuits. But using them can raise the ire of government officials and lead to charges of discrimination.
Many associations and nonprofits use at least two screening tools:
  • Background checks to explore any legal or ethical issues of candidates
  • Drugs tests to check on the use of illegal drugs
What tools does your association use before hiring new staffers?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Flipping the Classroom of Association Education

AP Photo from The Wall Street Journal

A week ago, the Wall Street Journal wrote a football story that offers ideas for association education programming.

Headlined Taking the Buckeyes to School outlines some of the innovative coaching methods of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.
  • The theory behind it is that introducing students to new material through short video lectures, screencasts or online slideshows outside of class time allows for the lower levels of cognitive work—gaining knowledge and comprehension—to be performed outside the classroom on their own schedule and at their own pace. Class time can then be repurposed into workshops where students can inquire about the material and interact with hands-on activities. These methods help accomplish the harder task of assimilating knowledge.
  • "The whole idea is that if you can get players thinking about it and doing the mental work prior to being in the football facility, your time in the classroom will be that much more productive," said Keith Grabowski, a former college assistant and founder of Coaches Edge Technologies, an online aid for coaches.
Some definitions from The Flipped Class: Myths vs Reality

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Associations and Urban Myths for the Holidays

Some stories stick. Even when they are not true. And, if it impacts your association or your members, it spells problems.

Two examples of holiday myths surface almost annually at this time of year:

MYTH: Suicides Spike During Holiday Months (November, December, January)

REALITY: The months of November, December and January actually have the lowest number of suicides per day, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, which analyzed 1999-2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It found that averages were highest in the spring and summer. (See USA Today ... Holiday suicide myth persists, research says.)

The center, which has tracked the media's reporting of suicides since 2000, looked at stories that linked suicides and the holidays. In 1999, 77% of those stories said, erroneously, that suicides increased over the holidays. The proportion of stories that supported that myth dropped after the center's analysis came out, but rose again last year to 76%.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

To hell with your Association’s “grass seed” ...

... what will it do for my “lawn?”

As I was watching a couple of recent television commercials, I recalled a comment my PR professor made more than 40 years ago:
  • If you are in the lawn seed business, remember that your audience is saying, “To hell with your grass seed, what will it do for my lawn?”
I’ve never forgotten this (and some other gems from Walt Seifert).

So, I wonder what companies/agencies/associations missed when their TV ads (or other marketing pieces) tell me ...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How does your association greet its members?

Ken Williams, the singer greeter at The Home Depot in Fort Myers

Walking in to Home Depot this weekend, we were welcomed by Ken Williams ... a singing greeter!

It shouldn’t surprise you that such a warm and friendly greeting lifts your spirits as you start your shopping experience.
Nor that you leave this Home Depot with a really positive outlook on the store and company.

My wife and I talked about this ... 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

8 Steps to Getting Great Proposals for Your Association!

Want great proposals? Submit awesome requests.

The other day I received a request from an association seeking qualified contractors for a marketing project.

I’ve been on both sides of the “RFP” process: seeking contractors via RFPs and building proposals responding to RFPs.

This specific request (a “request for concept papers”) seems a step in the right direction ... with some exceptions.

Bottom line: issuing great requests results getting great proposals.

Here are eight steps to help you get contractors that best fit your needs: